FEATURE-U.S. cable companies home in on security

Thu Oct 10, 2013 6:59am EDT
 
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By Liana B. Baker

Oct 10 (Reuters) - Consumers are increasingly turning to an unlikely source to secure their homes - the cable company.

Lower prices for critical components such as cameras and wireless technology have been lowering barriers to entering the $13 billion home security market, traditionally the territory of players like ADT Corp.

For cable companies such as Comcast Corp and Time Warner Cable Inc, home security is another revenue stream to help rebuild margins whittled away by rising programming costs and declining numbers of video subscribers. It is also a way to put to work the billions of dollars that cable companies have invested to create high-speed video and data services over the years.

And home security subscribers tend to stick around for an average of seven or eight years, according to industry estimates, unlike the fickle cable TV subscribers who can be lured away by enticing deals from satellite and telecom rivals.

Cable companies "are under pressure on their traditional lines of business so there's some urgency added to add more revenue," said Jim Johnson, executive vice president of iControl, the main home security vendor for Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Cox Communications.

Among the recent converts is Bruce Bird, 58, who did not think he needed a home security system until his New Jersey beach house was robbed last December. The culprits ripped out cabinets and made off with his flat screen TV just after he spent thousands of dollars to repair damages from Hurricane Sandy.

Bird, a pharmaceutical consultant, decided against a traditional security provider like ADT and chose Comcast, already his cable TV company, to safeguard his vacation home on Long Beach Island, New Jersey.

"I kept getting fliers in the mail saying that I had the technology, so I just called Comcast," he said.   Continued...